Skype group video calling goes free on Mac, Windows and Xbox One

Skype has today announced that group video calling will be available to everyone for free. Whether you're wanting to chat away with friends about the latest episode of Game of Thrones, or collaborating with employees, it's now easier (and cheaper) to get started with Microsoft's communication platform. The company has removed the premium tag for group video calling on the Xbox One, Windows and Mac platforms.

Video calling through Skype was usually between two contacts, while groups had to fork out for a premium video call option (unless you managed to bag a deal). Fear not if you're worried that Windows Phone, iOS and Android haven't received similar love as the team notes they'll be looking to roll out similar updates in the future to enable free video calling for more consumers.

Source: Skype (opens in new tab)

Rich Edmonds
Senior Editor, PC Build

Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

  • YES
  • That's nice...been wanting that feature for a while. Now this will kinda make me step a lil away from Google Hangouts for my conference meetings....except editing and viewing files together. This is great and hope it arrives soon Windows Phone.
  • Me too. But since added the auto save feature, I've also moved my editing and viewing files away from Google docs.
  • +928 SUCH awesome news!!
  • Yes yes !!
  • You mean they're including their own ecosystem in with this change as well??  *mind blown*
  • Seriously! I'll be even more impressed if Windows Phone gets this at the same time (or dare I even think, I'd better not even contemplate /before/) Android and iOS.
  • Lol +920
  • My bet's that no, wp gets it after iOS for sure. Reason: WP Skype needs more important work right now and i dont think the team would be free for such things. Just a guess though.
  • OMG! Microsoft actually cares about their own customers! :O
  • Probably won't come till WP 10!
  • Sacarms detected
  • Well good to see Microsoft being impartial.
  • FINALLY! this is great :)
  • Yes
  • That is awesome! is it effective immediately?
  • What about the group share screen? Is that goes free as well?
  • I'm not comfortable with Microsoft's new "free" policy
  • May I ask why?
  • Coz he may be a premium customer
  • In what way will Microsoft make money if most of their products are going free? Windows is free for screen sizes less than 10", few OEMs will make devices larger than 10" but the majority won't. Isn't what Microsoft lost enough already? Just saying...
  • Free for Less than 7"
  • its 9" and under
  • Microsoft has (and continues to) learned how to monetize customers who are a part of their "freemium" ecosystem.  Remember that Google offers a lot of free stuff but still makes money.  MS must do this because customers often go after free before paying.  Its why Android is so huge right now which makes the customers lock into Google services.  Once locked in and ur popular enough, u can make tons of cash in other ways.  Although it may not be great in certain other ways (why so many of us here are anti-Google), MS had to either adapt or die a long and slow death.  What would u have them do as an alternative?
  • I think what he meant was, if Microsoft continues to go "free" like Google, then they may be forced to adopt other similar business practices such as "selling our personal information" like Google does to make money. I'm just guessing, but that's how I read the post.
  • Yeah, that's what I alluded to in my reply.  Its definitely not a great practice but I don't run a multi-billion dollar company and I don't know how they can compete.  Their only other option might have been to eventually fold and then all we'd have is Google/Apple.  I don't see it as a good thing but more of a, "What are we (consumers) gonna do about it?" type thing.  Few options and all of them want to make money off of us.  We just have to choose who gets it because one of them will.  Unless u drop off and use nothing that is.
  • Because you make it cheaper for OEMs to entice them with better margins and make your money on software sales from your unified marketplace.   Hangouts has free group video calling. They need to stay competitive.
  • I wonder if it's because of "if you're not paying then you're not the customer but the product"
  • Nice! A feature that used to be free, then went behind a pay wall is free again!
  • After Satya's arrival it seems like things are changing alot...Good to see that...Doing Well...
    But apart from that so a premium customer been wat they will get for their silver membership nothing huh
  • No ads and multiple screen share, and maybe some other features that i forget
  • I would not say its because of satya's arrival. These things have been in the planning for long before that. Ballmer rule or around that time. They take time to reveal themselves. Hence they are just coming out right now. Satya has yet to prove himself for now. But I gotta say I have really big hopes for him. He feels like he will really change Microsoft around ;)
  • So will the wpcentral team be switching from google plus?
  • Google+ hangout is still on top for conference meetings than skype since it offers group editing and viewing. Will still be on Google+.
  • They should really stop using hangouts seriously. Using Skype is better.
  • NO!!!! it lacks GROUP VIEWING AND EDITING. Won't repeat myself again.
  • Didn't know you were on the wpcentral team.....
  • Uhh chill...dude... Bring it down a few notches...dont go Cray Cray because someone else asks for Skype....i personally would prefer Skype over hangouts myself
  • I vote for Skype lol
  • I don't know if there is any integration with Skype, but allows free group viewing and editing in real time. I use it all the time with multiple people working on the same file. With Windows 8.x snap feature, you could snap the Skype window to the left 1/3 of the screen, and then the window to the rest of the screen. If you're still rocking Windows 7, you could just resize the windows manually to the same 1/3 - 2/3 of the screen.
  • If it makes you feel better forum moderators and ambassadors are through and through Skype! ;)
  • Does anyone use this?  How does it compare to Hangouts?  (no fanboy garbage please)
  • I guess "no fanboy garbage" is the same as asking to not answer at all on a site like WPCentral.
  • Awesome...I've been hoping for this for years 
  • Rip viber
  • They still need to have it work on W8 modern ui....
  • i wonder when they will update Skype in WP to bring it in same level of usability and features as in other crap platforms....
  • They removed file sharing some time ago and it's still missing.   I'm not joking.
  • Not on Windows 8 APP (desktop). Maybe on WP but not in W8
  • Great news for me!. Now I can finally talk to all my friends without resorting to use Hangouts.
  • That is a step forward for step to improve messaging
  • Isn't it free on Xbox to begin with? Out is it just included with gold?
  • No, Skype hasn't show the same love for WP as they have for iOS and Android. It's quite depressing knowing that you can have a better Skype experience on an Android or iPhone/iPad/iPod than on a WP, because Microsoft owes Skype! #irony
  • The real question is how long will it take to come to Windows phone
  • wait a minute, MSFT always supports their platforms first ;) they would never put it on iOS and Android first.
  • good bye google hangouts.
  • Still no app for Xbox 360.
  • It's gave been waiting a long time to use my Xbox, again poor show from Microsoft..
  • Seriously, I just subscribed premium account yesterday!!
  • Do Xbox One owners need Gold membership? Non issue for me however that would be a boon. Its kinda silly they lock a number of services behind Gold that are free on Playstation. I say this as an Xbox diehard.
  • This better be fore Windows RT as well!
  • Shame it does not work on surface or windows phone.
  • Using it some months already. RIP Viber now only whatsapp and skype